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Brined Brisket

The flavor of this foolproof slow-cooked brisket comes from the sweetness of the onions paired with thyme in this recipe.


  • 1 well-trimmed brisket (5 pounds)
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For the brine:

  • 3 quarts plus 1 cup water, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick) or olive oil
  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 8 whole medium carrots, peeled
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For the gremolata:

  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 cup carrots tops (if they’re nice)
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
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Pat the meat dry and pierce it all over on both sides with the tip of skewer or small, sharp knife tip.

In a large (2 gallon) resealable plastic bag, combine 3 quarts of icy water, the bay leaves, orange, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and black pepper. Bring the remaining 1 cup of water to a boil and add the salt to dissolve. Add salt water to the icy brine. Add the meat, then remove all the air and seal the bag. Place on a tray in the fridge and weigh the meat down under a second tray to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 1-2 days.

To cook, remove the meat from the brine and pat dry. To a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and meat and brown the brisket on all sides. Remove the meat to a plate and add butter (or olive oil) to the pan, to melt. Once it foams, add the onions, thyme and chicken stock. Bring to a bubble and add the brisket back. Cover, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. During the last 45 minutes of cooking, add the whole carrots, then cover and keep cooking.

For the gremolata, on a large cutting board, finely chop the orange zest, parsley, carrot tops and toasted almonds together.

Remove the vegetables to a warm platter, then slice the meat and top with the stock to keep moist.

Serve topped with gremolata.

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Rachael Ray